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Legal Orientalism and its European Heritage

An Essay on Teemu Ruskola’s Legal Orientalism

Ancilla Iuris 2019
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The debate about legal Orientalism has gained traction in Western as well as in Chinese legal scholarship. The benchmark of this field of study is currently Teemu Ruskola’s Legal Orientalism. While Ruskola’s book focuses on the United States, China and modern law, the following article recommends reinterpreting his argument from a European perspective. Thus, the article first reflects on whether a European perspective is appropriate and explains how it ap-plies to the following argument (I). It goes on to argue that Legal Orientalism provides a deconstructive argument, hinting thereby at what remains to be thought about the Orientalist legal discourse. It is notably the notion of “Oriental legalism” that points to something beyond legal Orientalism (II). The article therefore then comments on this concept and explores some further avenues for how to rethink legal Orientalism from a more European perspective. The main suggestion is that we should refine Ruskola’s conceptual analysis of legal Orientalism as well as his presentation of the “Western” starting point (III).

Legal Orientalism and its European Heritage – An Essay on Teemu Ruskola’s Legal Orientalism, in: Ancilla Iuris (anci.ch) 2019, 17-22.

http://dx.doi.org/10.26031/2019.017

The text is subject to a non-commercial Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC 4.0).